Fire can be a very destructive beast. It can literally level a building in no time. It can decimate a forest in a matter of days. But as powerfully negative as it can be, fire changed the way humans lived life and still does today. In the right situation, fire can be your best friend.
In recent years, being prepared for anything has become important to me. I’m not talking about doomsday prepping but rather an approach to preparing in a balanced way. There are a lot of reasons to be prepared – like natural disasters, frequent power outages or water shortages. I am sure most of you reading this article can name half a dozen scenarios you might occasionally encounter where being a little bit prepared might come in handy. If you are reading this blog, then one such occasion I suspect would be hunting when it is cold outside. Many of you probably hunt alone or with a friend. And though not all hunt in secluded locations, the cold is not a respecter of persons or location. In the right scenario the cold can be pretty dangerous.
Let’s look at one of these. Let’s say you and a friend are duck hunting. You decided today that you would take the boat out. As you open fire overhead, you get a little bit off balance and before you know it, you and your friend are chest high in freezing water with temperatures outside well below freezing. Getting out of the water is your first priority but even when you do get out, without some source of warmth, your body will quickly go into hypothermia and I think we all know where that might end.
Now I’m not trying to be negative or scare you into taking action. I am simply saying that when you are hunting, often times away from civilization, you should at least be prepared with one of the most essential assets. Fire. In the above situation, fire can change a sad ending to an exceedingly happy ending. An ending where you feel more like a man or woman than you ever did. Conquering the wild with just a few sticks and a quart size bag.
Carrying a pack with several ways to make fire is not only cheap but also easy. If you could have enough in your pocket to save your life in a dire situation, why wouldn’t you? It weighs practically nothing and unless you need it, you will probably never know it’s there.
There are many options for fire starters, so what I am about to suggest is not an exhaustive list. It’s what I keep with me for fire starting and it will give you a start in your quest for fire. So without further ado…
A lighter: I know. That’s so obvious right? But having something made to create fire should be part of your plan. One problem with these is if they get wet, sometimes you might have some issues getting them to light. So you have a backup plan.
Waterproof matches: Yep, another invention that was created to actually start fire. But so often we don’t even carry these and so far, we have less than $3 wrapped up in our fire kit. Now for our backup of our backup plan.
Magnesium rod and striker: These are super cheap and work really well. Especially if you couple them with the cotton balls I mention below. You can get these for less than $5 and they are small and light.
Having a fire maker is one thing, but without some sort of tender, making a fire might be hard to do. Below I share a couple of options for tender that are pretty effective. It will be up to you to find dry twigs and wood to make your fire into the roaring inferno that you want to warm up your body after a quick dip in the freezing water. Many times, even if it has been raining, there is wood under leaves or trees that will be dry enough to get your fire going. Once it’s big enough, a fire can dry out other wood pretty quickly. Be resourceful and you will likely find enough wood to suffice.
Tender is important for fire building. It’s the starting point. Again, if everything is wet, you would be more effective if you didn’t have to be concerned with tender and could quickly find some smaller wood that would start your fire quickly. Here is what I carry.
Vaseline soaked cotton balls. You can make these little jewels yourself and will light extremely fast and easily. These are awesome for fire starters.
Dryer lint: If you have dryer, you can bet you have lint. This stuff catches fire very quickly and is easy to store.
Wetfire Fire Starting Tinder: A commercial product that you scrape shavings into a pile to light. These are super effective and again easy to carry.
There are a lot more options out there and you can spend some time searching online for as many options as you want to learn about. Having a way to make fire is just too easy to go without so please don’t. Make it a priority for yourself and your family and above all, stay safe.
Now go out there and make some fire!!